How to curate and build a personal brand
Distinguish yourself as an expert online
Establish a personal brand to guide your work and lead the right customer your way
This blog is for solopreneurs, consultants, and freelancers who sell independent services. Whether you provide knowledge, talent, or strategy, these steps can help you define your service and make it easier for you to attract clients. Develop your brand and gain control of your influence in your industry.
Create a personal brand statement
Even if you work for yourself, your business should have a defined mission statement. Pinpoint what your business objectives and values are. Your personal brand statement explains your business agenda or what you hope to accomplish in your work. It also emphasizes how you provide a solution for your customers and clients.
Perhaps most importantly, you should identify your prime business values. These become the beacon that leads the way in business interactions. Here is a helpful list of core values to inspire you.
Your top qualifications
Communicate your unique selling proposition (USP). Why should people depend on you to produce for your clients and customers? Here are the key qualifications to communicate:
- Education and specialized training
- Notable clients and customers
- Awards, speaking engagements, press mentions
- Results and testimonials
Out of all of these, your track record is the most important. Anyone who considers hiring you will ask themselves: What can this person do for me?
To get hired, you have to deliver business impact and success. That means you must provide evidence of your previous performance. The best way to pull this together is to put together samples of your work, such as case studies or a portfolio. Make it easy for clients and customers to evaluate your skill level and experience, and they just might hire you without hesitation.
Other capabilities your potential client or customer will value include:
- Hard skills such as bookkeeping
- Life experiences
- Relevant certifications
- Honors, press/media mentions
- Awards and recognitions
- Community service
Recommendations enhance everyone’s credentials. Be sure to give direction so reviewers cover your different strong points. Better yet, draft the recommendations for your reviewers to adjust or sign off, then post them online.
Get your services noticed by building your brand influence
Any prospective client will look you up online, so Google yourself and see where and how you show up. If you don’t have a website, establish a digital presence on social media.
Here are some ways to spread your influence on social:
- Create a personal brand story: Write about the origin of your business and milestones
- Stay in step with your industry: Engage with others on change and current events in your sector
- Share advice and your expertise: People search for answers, so this is a way for a client to find you
You can stand apart by understanding your competitive space and trends, and then joining the conversation. Certain terms and concerns will come into the spotlight from time to time. Use those keywords and get involved in those discussions. This is a way that new clients can find you.
Be aware of your digital trail
Spend your time wisely. You need to plan ahead to control your brand narrative and get the most from your digital interactions.
Will you meet your next client where you are? Or do you need to position yourself on another channel? Perhaps there are channels you should shut down if you are on a second career. Streamline your image.
Win by researching the competition
When you learn how to position yourself in the market, you become a better competitor. What are the top search results for consultants or talent in your area and other states? What keywords and images do your competitors use to describe themselves? There is a benchmark.
Clients have certain expectations, and they are usually more comfortable evaluating smaller differences between the best options. Your first stop might be searching LinkedIn, YouTube, or Instagram. Find a few people in your field that present themselves strongly. Borrow what fits your world and improve on everything you can.
Guide to self-packaging
You are the best person to discover your personal brand. This blog has led you through the process of determining your personal brand statement, values, qualifications, and position and influence in the marketplace. This is a lot to go on if you then want to hire a graphic designer or writer to develop a design identity or messaging for a website.
Clients and customers are attracted to you because of your professional qualities, communication skills, the way you present yourself, and the most unique part of yourself – your personality. So when you package your professional image, don’t forget to be yourself.
Aileen Ghee, NYWIB Director of Digital Marketing
Macollvie J. Neel, NYWIB Senior Editor
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